About spools, waste, and customer experience

Waste creation is a real problem and both proposed solutions and dialogue are important, but reducing waste also requires a holistic approach. As a filament manufacturer passionate about reducing waste, we kickstarted the Proto-pasta brand more than 4 years ago, delivering a system with a separate re-useable spool and loose filament (thoughtfully bundled with ties) for reduced packagining. You know what we found? More waste.
More wasted material with tangled filament (proper handling is a real challenge). Lost time and frustration from users. Lost printing time and material-wasting failed prints. More support time.  It was not an improvement. Did it work better with 2.85mm diameter and shorter coils, sure, but overall it was not an upgrade.
Still, sending landfill filling plastic spools around the world was something we couldn't stomach. That's why we took it upon ourselves years ago to design, iterate, and manufacture our own cardboard spools to reduce our impact around the world!
Why cardboard? It can be recycled locally and still gives the high quality user experience we demand that we've only found comes with delivering filament on a spool. Even so, we have people who complain they should get a plastic spool for as much as they pay for our filament. Wait, you want us to sell you more waste to feel like you got a better deal? I get it though.
I've seen some beautiful, wasteful packaging, so we need a cultural change and the good thing is it's coming! Fast enough? Hard to say, but thankfully we have passionate makers and community members like Richard Horne (RichRap) that aren't settling for the status quo and are driving change! We aren't settling either. At the end of the day, we realize we only provide material to a small part of the market, but if we can drive change by doing something better, I'm satisfied with shared wealth and well-being in uplifting the 3D printing community as a whole.
Peace, Love & Pasta, Alex
P.S. A thanks to fellow Makers - We continue to push the boundaries of what's known and accepted as standard, and thank you for doing the same!  Let's continue to evolve what we know and "make things" better!!!

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